Jim Sloan and the 1911 Crawford Diary

     The Harold Crawford Collection has recently received an important addition. A diary kept by him in 1911 was purchased by the Jim & Judy Sloan Foundation and donated to our archives. Their ongoing generosity to the History Center is gratefully acknowledged.

     In 1911, Harold Crawford was in his junior year at the University of Illinois School of Architecture. This diary records many details of his academic and social life, which provide new insights into his personality and character. This was a formative year in the life of this iconic figure in the history of Rochester. In 1913 Crawford graduated from Illinois with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. That fall he entered Harvard University’s graduate program in art and architecture, receiving a Master’s Degree in 1916. He then returned to Rochester and started his architecture practice here which spanned a half century. 

     His list of works includes about 150 built projects. His best known local buildings include the old Rochester Public Library (now the student center for Mayo School of Medicine) and the many beautiful homes designed by him on Pill Hill. His works are far more extensive than just these, however. In addition to more residences they also include schools, churches, creameries, industrial buildings, public buildings and commercial structures. They are not just in Rochester, but also occur in many cities and towns across southern Minnesota. Crawford retired from the practice of architecture in the late 1960s and then devoted his remaining years to his passion for watercolor painting. He died in 1981 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

     For more information on the subject, see Master Architect: The Life and Works of Harold Crawford, by Ken Allsen, available in the History Center Gift Shop. The drawings and other artifacts of the Crawford Collection may be viewed in the Library of the History Center. There is also a display of his paintings and some related artifacts in the Museum.

IMG_0955.JPG"Olmsted County and the Great War"

In honor of World War I, the History Center of Olmsted County is featuring "Olmsted County and the Great War." Click the image to the right to learn more about the exhibit and discover how the war affected the people of Olmsted County.



                                  The newest traveling exhibit is on display now!!



Featured Event

Summer Schoolhouse - Summer Day Camp


Aug 22, 2018 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM


Description: During this camp, children will have a chance to step back in time and learn what it was like to be a student in a one-room schoolhouse. When the bell rings, students will begin a day of learning and reenacting. Just like students 150 years ago, they will learn reading, arithmetic, geography, penmanship and elocution, and take part in a spelling bee. They will also have the chance to participate in recess and play 19th century games, such as hoops and graces. The bell will ring promptly to begin and end their experience in the one-room schoolhouse. Bring a sack lunch. Snack will be provided. Camps run from 10 am-2 pm. Please bring a sack lunch and wear appropriate clothing. Space is limited to 13 per camp, so be sure to make your reservations today! Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. (Entering 3rd Grade-7th Grade)


$45.00 for non-members. $40.00 for members

Featured Event

Movies Under The Stars


Aug 24, 2018 8:30 PM - 11:00 PM


The History Center presents an outdoor screening of the Movie "Moana" which will be held at Schmitt field on the History Center grounds.

Featured Event

Roosters Base Ball @ St. Charles, MN (Away Game) Gladiolus Days


Aug 25, 2018 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


The Roosters travel to play Lanesboro at St. Charle's Gladiolus Days

To see more programs and events please check out our Calendar of Events!


Olmsted History Center

Tuesday – Saturday
9 am to 5 p

Closed All Major Holidays.

On days that inclement weather occurs the History Center will close consistent with Rochester Public Schools closures.


Adults: $5.00
Children: $2.00
HCOC Members: Free